According to the New York Solar Map, there are over 90,000 completed solar projects in New York State to date with a capacity of over 1300 megawatts of energy. Solar is a renewable, sustainable form of energy. Solar energy can decrease your environmental impact and save homeowners a significant amount of money. Here are three ways that solar energy impacts our environment today:
1. Solar Energy Decreases Water Pollution
Coal, natural gas, nuclear energy and thermoelectric plants all require cooling. This then requires significant amounts of water to support the cooling efforts. 72 percent of water pollution comes from coal-fired power plants, and toxic pollution is linked to cancer, heart attacks and neurological damage. So, these cooling efforts are supporting this pollution and disease.
By generating solar energy vs. energy from fossil fuels, we can have a positive impact on our water sources. Solar energy does not rely on water. And as we transition from from fossil fuel energy to solar energy, we can have a positive impact on our public health, water ecosystems, and drinking water.
2. Solar Energy Reduces Air Pollution
In the United States, 31 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are derived from electricity production. Greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide emissions reduce air quality and increase the weather extremes we are experiencing. When solar energy is used, no greenhouse gases are emitted. Thus solar energy is helping to reduce air pollution.
Solar Panels Are Not Zero-Emissions
Solar panels produce zero emissions once installed on your roof. However, solar panels are not zero-emissions for their entire lifetime. Solar panels are manufactured in a factory first. They are then recycled at the end of their useful life. These two processes are where solar actually has an environmental impact. However, calculations reflect that when replacing the traditional forms of energy, the environmental impact of producing and recycling electricity from solar panels is still beneficial vs. using those other forms of energy.
3. Solar Energy Reduces Hazardous Waste
According to the United Nations Environmental Program, over 400 million tons of hazardous waste is produced every year. And most of this hazardous waste is not thrown out safely. Unlike traditional energy sources, solar power doesn’t rely on fuel to create electricity. This removes the problem of how to manage radioactive waste storage and transport fuel.
In addition to the homeowner financial benefits, converting to solar energy impacts our environment in many beneficial ways. If you have an interest in converting your home to solar energy and understanding the financial and environmental impacts, please schedule a consult with Surf Clean Energy today.
You may also like to read more about 10 Home Solar Myths Debunked.